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I spent most of week 2 in Vietnam, where I have more than satisfactorily fulfilled my resolution of “Get more exercise.” I’ve been walking about 4-5 hours a day. I’m still getting to bed around 10:30am, and I’ve been getting up between 4:30-6:00am most mornings. Cannonball Read has fallen (once again) by the wayside, but I’ll have another 20+ hour trip back to the states to try to make up for lost time.
Week 3 was about tossing and organizing. I haven’t gotten a chance to do so at home (still in Vietnam), but I’m very much a minimalist when it comes to clutter. My goal will be to clean out and organize my office when I return home.
I have had the opportunity to see what I can live without and what I need to stay sane. Three necessary items so far: ice, lip balm, and chocolate. Oh, and never underestimate the power of hand sanitizers and wet wipes! I’ve been living out of a small carry-on bag since we’ve left Saigon and have been traveling through Nha Trang and Hue.
Week 4′s resolution is to tackle a nagging task. I’ll have to leave that until February, but I already have a small list of tasks that have been sitting on the procrastinating back burner for a while.
In the meantime, I’ll continue with my current resolutions.
Today’s my last day to pack. Mostly. I don’t leave until Wednesday morning, but I work a twelve on Tuesday.
Everything is on my bed or on the floor by my bed. I’m trying to pack lightly, but Cindy already told me I needed 4-5 dresses just for the wedding weekend. That takes a lot of room.
I’m making a list so I can go out and pick up all the last minute items. I can’t forget more gifts for my hosts. Some other Vietnamese told me they’ll love peanut M&Ms. And anything that says “Made in the U.S.A.” Ok, then.
I really have no idea what to expect over the next three weeks. I’m trying to be ready for anything. I’m leaving with an open mind, an empty journal, and a camera.
What else do I need?
All the Pretty Horses is a novel about a teenager in the late 1940′s who sets off to Mexico with his friend. John Grady Cole is the product of generations of Texas ranchers; ranching is what he knows and does best. His grandfather has just died, his parents are separated, and he finds himself cut off from the life he always imagined for himself. He ventures across the border in search of a new life.
He travels with his friend Lacey Rawlins. Together they meet a young teen who calls himself Jimmy Blevins and allow the boy to travel with them. This decision colors the rest of the events of the novel and leads to tragic situations. Their friendship and the loyalty that accompanies it is tested again and again.
The friendship between Cole and Rawlins may be one of the best male bonds I’ve seen portrayed. Their personalities clash. They often disagree. They have sparse conversations about deeper matters such as love and God. It isn’t overly sentimental but rather matter of fact. I am a man. That is my horse. You are my friend. I won’t quit you. Again and again, I won’t quit you. Even when one disagrees with the other. Even when it puts one in danger. I won’t quit you. A similar line was more recently made famous in the movie Brokeback Mountain, but I found it much more moving here. Here it is self-less.
Cole finds himself falling for the beautiful, blue-eyed daughter of a Mexican ranch owner. Their affair is passionate ,star-crossed, and another source of discord between Cole and Rawlins.
What I found most astonishing throughout the whole novel was how young the boys were. 16-years-old. I would keep forgetting as I read along through the hardship, the tragedies, the frightening danger, murder, the love gained, and the love lost. It seems so adult. In a modern society where adolescence extends well into the mid-twenties, the maturity of Cole is impressive.
I don’t know that my 16-year-old self would have stood a chance in the same situations. I do know that I wouldn’t have had any trouble saying yes to Mr. John Grady Cole. Rowr. Move over Mr. Darcy. We have a new literary crush to add to the list.
*Yes, I know he’s only 16-years-old now. This was the first novel of McCarthy’s Border triology. I understand that Cole reappears in the third novel as an older man. So there.
**You can see my review on Pajiba here.
Last week’s resolutions to set a bedtime and make my bed were successful until last night/this morning. I stayed up late talking with my brother and sister (who had stopped by). This meant I woke up tired, rushed to get ready, didn’t make my bed, and was running late to work. All due to the lack of bedtime.
Up until then, I was making myself get into bed between 10 and 10:30 the nights before I work. (An hour later before my days off.) I had some time to read before falling asleep (another personal resolution: finish Cannonball Read.) I woke up rested and got up earlier and easier. I immediately made my bed after getting up. I got to work earlier than usual (i.e. earlier than the absolute latest I can clock in and not be late.)
It was amazing to see how my sleep affected so much of my morning, not to mention the rest of the day while running on a full tank instead of a half or quarter.
There were a few things that helped me keep a bedtime.
1. Change for bed and wash my face about 2 hours before my bedtime. This makes me ready to climb into bed. Nothing else to do but slip under the covers.
2. Chamomile tea. I used to drink this every night before bed, so for me this is another signal that I’ll be going to bed soon.
3. Set the DVR to tape any later shows I think I might want to see. This way I don’t stay up to watch, and the odds are good that I will simply erase them a few days later. This also helps me toward my own personal resolution of less TV in 2010. I’ve found most of my mindless TV watching comes at prime time and later.
4. Exercise. Not much really, but I’ve been walking the dogs most nights. It helps.
This week’s 2010 Happiness Challenge resolution is get more exercise. Walking my two energetic dogs has already added an extra dose of activity to my life. The key word this week is “more.”
I put together a small group (4 people) at the last minute (turned in papers five minutes before deadline – started recruiting members an hour before) for a 12-week weight challenge at my hospital. The rankings will be by percentage lost. The teams are comprised of 4-6 members, and the grand prize is $600 for the team. Obviously it wasn’t the prize that I wanted. $150 per person isn’t quite the dream win. What I want to win (besides a healthier me!) is the bragging rights on my unit. My charge nurse was putting together a team, and I was told I couldn’t be on their team. And then repeatedly told again (I didn’t ask again) that I didn’t have anything to give them.
The truth is that I could maybe do 15 pounds realistically. They were talking about the challenge again today as they had to turn in their papers. I decided that I’d put together a team of people who are perhaps just 10-20 pounds overweight but certainly more motivated than the other team. I think we could beat this team of 6 by losing a larger percentage of body weight as a team. I’ve worked with most of the women on the other team for 2 years. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it is that they don’t exactly motivate easily. They talk a lot, but you rarely see any action. They never work any harder than the minimum required. The girls I recruited were also rebuffed by the other team’s members. Hence, the motivation. Plus, these guys work hard on the floor. I know they’ll put real effort into the challenge.
The beginning weigh-in is Jan. 12th. I’ll be in Vietnam for the first 3 weeks of the challenge, but I don’t expect to find a lack of physical activity. I plan to be an awesome team leader. I’m even starting a blog for it. Plus, there are a few other people who may become part of our group unofficially since the deadline has passed. They are all welcome.
My own personal goals for this week are to continue to keep to my bedtime so that I can wake up early and rested enough for a 20-minute workout before work in the morning. I recently bought the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD. One 20 minute workout (Level 1!) left me with achy thighs for two days. It is hard. Plus, I need to get smaller hand weights. They’re only 8lbs, but it really was too much for the repetition involved. My biceps were sore. I could hardly take the stairs at work. I’ve healed enough for me to do it again tomorrow.
My best bet to keeping to an exercise routine is to do it in the morning. The only way for me to do that is to continue the bedtime. I may even start setting it earlier.
I leave next Wednesday for 3 weeks, and I have no idea what to expect.
Sure, I’ve done some on-line research. I’ve asked my travel partners questions. I’ve had my brother ask his Vietnamese co-workers questions.
I still have no clue. I’m packing as best as I can with the information I’ve been given.
I’m going to keep a travel journal during this trip. I’ve also done a little on-line research for some tips on making the best travel journal I can (here and here). My dream is to do so with every trip I take.
It’s too easy to forget the little things.
As I was brainstorming my goals for the new year, I came across The Happiness Project. Rather than coming up with a wish list, my resolution this year is to follow the 2010 Happiness Challenge. Each month will have a theme, and each week will have a resolution aimed at that month’s theme.
I like this because the challenge is composed of small, manageable, concrete resolutions to improve my life. My lock screen on my phone has had the phrase “Sound body, sound mind” to remind me daily that I need to take better physical care of myself first.
January’s theme is Energy. Week One: Get more sleep.
My 2010 resolutions so far are*:
1. Set a bedtime.
2. Make my bed every morning.
* I will add to the list throughout the year, and I’ll still be adding my own personal goals. I think I will be more successful making one or two changes at a time.
Charge Nurse didn’t talk to me the rest of the shift. I was okay with that. She was wrong for what she did, and I told her so. If she wanted to sulk, so be it.
We have a new housekeeper, and she is great. Patients love her. The station looks better than ever. Even our lounge is shining.
She had just finished wiping down our station’s counters when Charge Nurse came back in to sit at her computer. CN immediately whipped around and started complaining to the housekeeper about the wet counter tops. Didn’t she realize all our papers will get wet? Doesn’t she know to wipe over the counters again to dry them? Doesn’t she know how to do her job? Over and over again. She was bitchy and rude to the extreme. The housekeeper just stood there. I was standing near by the charts.
I must have been making a face, because CN looks at me and says, “What? What did I say? Did I say something wrong? Am I just supposed to kiss butt? What? What did I do?”
I felt a bit stuck, because I wanted to call her out on being a bitch, but I also didn’t think it was appropriate to do that at that time. I just said, “CN, she just wiped down the counter tops with the alcohol wipes. It’s probably dry now.” And it was. The housekeeper just left quietly.
After the housekeeper left, I came closer and CN repeated her questions. “You were unbelievably rude. That lady is new here and does a great job. There was nothing wrong with the counters. They were dry by the time you finished verbally assaulting her. You owe her an apology. Don’t you dare run off our good help.”
Debbie came around, and I told her what happened. She went to find the housekeeper to talk with her. Apparently CN had repeatedly treated her like this, and the housekeeper was ready to quit. Great. The worst of it is that CN seems to truly believe she did nothing wrong.
I like CN. I really do. I know better than to take anything she says to me seriously. Most of the time her cluelessness makes me laugh. This time she crossed a line.
A young woman is in need of dialysis and to be placed on a renal transplant list. She had come to us in failure, and we had finally gotten a 5-year-old renal biopsy result to our hospital. Not good.
My favorite renal MD came in to discuss those results and the need for a transplant. He tells her to call a number the next morning. Then, looking at her face, he says, “No. 22 is too young to be having to do this.” And he pulls out his own phone to make the necessary calls.
I love this guy.